If you’ve ever seen a paraiso verde, you’ll know how pretty this rare type of philodendron is. It’s a very sought-after tropical plant that has heart-shaped, elongated leaves in a range of stunning colors. However, while this is a more rare houseplant, paraiso verde care isn’t nearly as difficult as you would guess. It does require a small amount of specialized care to thrive, but this isn’t as difficult as you’re imagining, and this guide will walk you through all you need to know. This philodendron can be hard to source, but if you happen to get one, we’ll make sure you know everything you need to in order to keep it happy and healthy for years.
This philodendron is a non-climbing variety that has slightly elongated heart-shaped leaves that are a medium-green color. Paraiso Verde by Forest and Kim Starr / CC BY 2.0
Paraiso Verde Quick Care Guide
|Common Name:||Green paradise|
|Diseases:||Brown leaf tips, leaf curl, blight, and leaf spots|
|Feeding:||Once every month during spring and summer|
|Humidity:||55% to 75%|
|Light:||Bright but indirect|
|Maximum Growth:||15 inches|
|Origins:||The Caribbean and tropical America|
|Pests:||Aphids, spider mites, and scale insects|
|Propagation:||Stem cuttings in water or soil|
|Pruning:||Minor clipping each year|
|Repotting:||When the roots fill the pot|
|Season:||Slows down during fall and winter|
|Soil:||60% potting soil and 40% perlite|
|Temperature:||55°F to 90°F|
|Toxicity:||High to kids and pets as it has calcium oscillate crystals|
|USDA Hardiness Zones:||9b to 10|
Philodendron Paraiso Verde Care Guidelines
The first thing you should do when you get your paraiso verde home is to check it and look for any signs of diseases or pests. You want to make sure you check under the leaves and in the leaf nodules on the plant for any sneaky bugs. Next, gently knock the plant out of the container and look at the root system. This will allow you to see if the roots are healthy, whether it’s started to outgrow the container, and if the roots are moist.
Once you decide that your paraiso verde is in good health, you can pick out a spot and move it to the new space. You want to position this plant somewhere it gets indirect but bright lighting and that is away from any drafts. These plants are massive humidity fans as they are tropical, so putting it by other houseplants ensures that the humidity levels are slightly higher.
Paraiso verde isn’t a plant that requires a huge amount of fertilizer to be happy, and this is another reason why it’s a lower-maintenance plant. You can feed it quick-release, liquid fertilizers or slower powder-based options. We recommend getting high-quality fertilizers with an NPK ratio of 20:20:20. Having the same amounts of all of these micronutrients helps the plant grow as large as it can.
During the summer months when the plant is actively growing, you can feed it every four to five weeks. During the colder months, drop the feeding to once every six or eight weeks. If you see things like wilting or discolored leaves, you should go over your feeding schedule and change it as you see fit. If you like homemade fertilizers, you can make one using coffee grounds. All you have to do is mix the coffee grounds with eggshells and banana peels and put them over the plant’s soil.
You want to add fertilizer during the active growing season as this plant produces a lot of leaves, so it needs more nutrients to support steady growth.
With this plant, humidity is more important to it than many of your houseplants. Ideally, your humidity levels will stay between 65% and 75% at a minimum, and this is very high, especially inside. If the leaves start to turn floppy or soft, this is a sign that humidity is behind it. One of the first steps to fixing this problem is to raise the humidity levels by bunching a lot of plants together. This can create a very small microclimate where the humidity levels stay higher than anywhere else in the room.
If this doesn’t work, you can put your plant on a gravel tray as your next move. A gravel tray is a plant saucer you fill with gravel and then add water. The gravel allows you to keep the plant’s base out of the water while encouraging the humidity levels to rise as the water evaporates from the tray.
If this still doesn’t do the trick, you may want to get a plant humidifier. This isn’t a particularly expensive investment, and they allow you as a home gardener to regulate the humidity levels around your plants to a very exact degree. You want to use it alongside a humidity meter, and this is also a low-cost investment. If you put it near your paraiso verde plant, it will give you a digital readout of the temperature and humidity level. This allows you to create the perfect environment for your plant.
Ideally, this plant should be in a spot that gets bright light that is indirect as direct light can scorch the leaves. The attractive and delicate variegations on the leaves will fade and the leaves will turn a very dark green if they get too much light. The goal is to replicate the tropical forest floor where the light gets to the plant after it filters through larger trees.
You’ll need nutritious but light soil for your paraiso verde to thrive. Like any other philodendron, it does swell in permeable and lightweight soils that are very high in organic matter and allow water to drain well. This plant is very sensitive to root rot, so you want to use a well-aerated soil.
Along with using loose soil, you can add peat moss to the mix as this prevents the soil from drying out too quickly. Other options you can add include coconut fiber, charcoal, and perlite. These options are also very effective for filtering toxins out of the soil. To get the best growth possible, you want to keep the pH levels between 5.0 and 6.0, or mildly acidic. The lower acidity level helps your plant while warding off mild diseases and infections. This also helps the plant increase the nutrient intake.
Paraiso verde is a plant that likes to be in temperatures between 55°F and 90°F. In some areas, you can even leave your plant outside during the summer months. However, the plant will have issues if the temperature dips below 50°F. Whether you choose to keep the plant inside or move it outside in warmer months, you’ll need to ensure that it’s never exposed to anything below 50°F or it’ll die.
Watering is one of the most critical aspects of paraiso verde care, especially considering that this plant comes from tropical regions and moist environments. You need to keep the soil slightly moist but not wet. This may seem like a difficult thing to achieve at first, but you’ll get the hang of it quick enough. Our solution to getting the perfect moisture balance is to do a regular test with your finger in the soil. By pushing your finger roughly an inch into the soil, you’ll be able to feel if it’s dry or moist.
If the soil is dry to the touch, it’s time to water it again. Wherever it’s possible, you want to use filtered water or rainwater to prevent chemicals from building up in the soil. How you water this plant is also very important. You want to put your plant in a basin or sink and apply the water at the soil level to avoid the foliage.
The goal is to not get any water on the leaves. Apply your water until you see it start to seep through the hole at the bottom of the pot. Only once it drains fully should you replace the plant in the saucer and take it back to its normal space. You want to avoid using regular tap water if possible as it has chemicals that can slowly build up in the soil over time and cause issues.
A lot of people like to leave their paraiso verde in place and water it there, but this can lead to issues. If the saucer is full of water, it will slow the speed that the remaining water drains from the soil, and this can cause waterlogging. Nothing will kill your paraiso verde quicker than getting it waterlogged. Also, don’t fall into the trap that you need to fertilize and water your plant more to get it to grow quicker. You’ll get much faster results if you manage to replicate the natural conditions that this plant grows in and allow it to grow at its own speed.
Water is the single most important aspect of paraiso verde care, and it will take you a while to learn how much to give it without under or over-watering.
Pruning Paraiso Verde
If your paraiso verde has a lot of irregular vines growing on it, you want to prune it each week to get a clean and neat look. On the other hand, if you decide that the vines are too small and look fine, you can skip pruning until they grow more. When you prune them, you want to use some rubbing alcohol on your shears beforehand. Also, as you go over your plant with the pruners, you want to look for any signs of diseases.
Periodically pruning the paraiso verde plant will encourage it to grow healthier, new leaves, get a bushier look, and redirect the nutrient supply to the young leaves. One tip you can take from here is to always make your cuts right above the leaf node as this is where the new leaf stem will grow.
Repotting Your Paraiso Verde
Every plant will need to get repotted at least once when you have it. First, the plant grows and the root ball will get too big for the container, and the soil will slowly lose the nutrient content as the plant absorbs them. You only need to repot this plant when it gets very tightly rootbound. If you notice that your plant’s roots are starting to come through the bottom of the pot, it’s time to upgrade to a larger one.
If you can wait until the start of the new growing season, this will help your plant settle into the new pot more quickly. However, this isn’t a necessity to wait. You’ll need to get a container that is one size up from the current one. You don’t want to go out and buy a container that is much larger than the current one, and the goal is to increase the pot diameter by an inch or two. There should also be adequately sized drainage holes in the new container. The reason why you don’t want to put your paraiso verde into a huge container is that the roots will then be surrounded by a lot of water-retaining materials. This can cause root rot.
Next, make sure that you have fresh potting soil with perlite mixed in. You want to gently tap your plant from the current container and look at the root system. Healthy roots will be whtie and have fleshy, firm textures to them. You can remove any loose potting soil that is clinging to your roots, but be careful to not cause any damage.
Now it’s time to put your plant in the new container. Once it’s in, you’ll gently fill around the plant with your potting mix. Firm the mix down using your fingered and make sure that your plant is replanted to the same depth it was in in the previous container. Water it in and allow the excess to drain away.
Paraiso Verde Propagation
For the domestic home grower, the paraiso verde is a rare plant, so they’re expensive when you do manage to find one. The good news is that you can propagate them yourself and increase your collection without having to go out and buy more. You grow them from stem cuttings, and you can start them in water or soil.
You will need to get a cutting below a leaf node. Using a clean, sharp knife is an easy way to get a clean cut. Once you get the cutting, you should keep only a leaf or two on it, and we tend to keep one. Plant it in the saem potting mix that you use to grow the parent plant in a space that offers indirect but bright light.
It’ll start to put out roots within two weeks. Don’t do anything else at this stage but make sure that the soil stays constantly moist. After you do, you can start to see growth at the top of the plant. It will be another two or three weeks at the least before you will have a plant that is large enough to need to be repotted.
The initial growth on this plant will be slower while it establishes itself. However, then it’ll start to grow quickly. As an alternative to using soil as a starter, you can just plop the cutting into a glass of water. You still want to reduce the leaf ration so that the new, tiny roots don’t have to struggle to sustain many leaves. You can leave the plant in the water until you see there are plenty of roots before putting it into a smaller pot. While you wait on the roots to grow, swap out the water once or twice a week, and use distilled or rain water if at all possible.
Even though your plant will look tiny when you first propagate it, you want to be patient and give it time to grow without rushing it and adding too much fertilizer.
Common Paraiso Verde Diseases
When it comes to diseases and the paraiso verde plant, most of them stem from incorrect watering practices. The following are ones you can run into and how to fix them:
Brown Leaf Tips
Brown leaf tips usually indicate that you aren’t watering your plant enough. The brown tips will become dry and crisp, so you want to check your watering schedule. The tips on your plants won’t recover, but if you get the moisture levels correct, they shouldn’t spread. Brown or black spots on the leaves can also mean you have a bacterial fungus problem.
This is often due to damp conditions. When you water your paraiso verde plant, make sure that you apply the water at the base of the plant and not on the foliage. There should also be good air circulation and you want to avoid watering it too much. You can treat this issue with a fungicide that most nurseries carry.
Brown Soggy Marks on Leaves
If you spot brown watery patches on the leaves and the stems start rotting, the plant can have an issue with root rot. This is a very serious problem that you need to address straight away if you’re going to save your plant. It almost always means that there is too much water in the root ball.
The first thing that you want to do is to tap the plant out of the pot and lay it on a sheet of paper outside, in the sun. Allow the plant to dry out before you take a good look at the roots. Any soggy or brown root material needs to be cut away as it can harbor fungal pathogens. Once you get them all cut away, you can repot the plant into a new potting mix and hold off on watering for several days. Your plant will hopefully show signs that it’s perking up. After this, keep the soil moist but not wet and drain away the excess water each time you give it a drink.
Low humidity is the main cause of curling leaves, but adding too much fertilizer or underwatering can cause it too. You want to feed your plant a balanced fertilizer during the growing season from spring to the middle of summer.
Floppy and Wilting Leaves
A lack of water or humidity can cause wilting or floppy leaves. It can be easy to find out which one it is by doing the finger test into the soil again. If the soil is too dry, you want to water it right away. If the soil is moist, boost your humidity levels.
Common Paraiso Verde Pests
The biggest defense your paraiso verde plant has against pests is the waxy, invisible cuticle that goes over the leaves. The healthier your plant is, the thicker this cuticle grows, and the more your plant can put up a defense against pests. If you can keep the plant healthy, you are much less likely to have an issue with pets as nearly all of them are sap-sucking insects.
So, these insects need to get their mouthparts through the plant’s cuticle to get to the sap. If they can’t do this easily, they move to a more vulnerable plant. Regularly closely inspecting your plants at the leaf joints and on the foliage can help you ward off any major attacks. If you spot a few pests very early, you can take steps to get rid of them before they get established. Having a magnifying glass is a great tool to help you spot these tiny bugs.
Aphids are small, sap-sucking insects that can multiply very quickly. They tend to love to be around new growth where the leaf parts are softer. Once they get established, the population will explode. Fortunately for you, aphids are very fragile pests, so they’re easier to get rid of once you notice them. You can wipe them off of the plant’s leaves using a soft rag with neem oil or an insecticidal soap on it.
Most bugs that attack the paraiso verde plant are tiny, so you will really have to look close to spot them and get them off your plant. Aphids by Ryszard / CC BY-NC 2.0
If there are white, tiny blobs on the leaves of your plant, mealy bugs can be the culprit. These pests are very small insects that look like small blobs of cotton wool or a light dusting of flour. They like to stick around your paraiso verde’s leaf joints and suc the sap out of the plant from here. You can use a jet of water to get rid of them or apply neem oil or insecticidal soaps.
Scale insects can go unnoticed on your plant because they look like light brown, tiny scabs on the leaf surface or on the plant stem. Hidden under their hard little shells, they start to suck at the sap and weaken the host plant. If you catch them early on, you can remove them by scratching them off with the back of a knife or with your fingernail. You’ll need to dip a cloth in neem oil to get rid of bigger numbers.
Finally, spider mites are tiny bugs that are virtually invisible to the naked eye. You normally spot them on your paraiso verde plant because they form a fine web by the base of the leaf, and portions of the leaf get desiccated and brown where they already sucked out all of the sap. They tend to lay their eggs on the undersides of your plant’s leaves.
One good plan of attack for getting rid of this pest is to put the plant in the sink and carefully wash away the webs using lukewarm water. Once you finish, wipe the leaves with neem oil to keep them away. Spider mites aren’t very common on this plant because they prefer drier conditions, but you can see them.
We know that these plants like higher humidity levels, so if you do see this pest, it might let you know that you should check on these humidity levels. Also, consider performing a weekly wipe down using neem oil to keep the leaves in top shape and ward way any pests before they have a chance to take hold. You want to isolate any infected plants to stop the pests from spreading too.
You already picked out a great plant. Not only are paraiso verde plants wonderful to look at, but they can be relatively easy to care for. As an added benefit, they also give you the unique opportunity to propagate new plants every year to help you increase your collection.